North Mankato: Kitchenmaster, Klooster & Begalka, CPAs
Jill Klooster and Kelly Begalka in October 2013 bought in as majority owners with what had been called Kitchenmaster & Co. Klooster joked in a telephone interview, “We’ve saved the Kitchenmaster name because of Bob’s (Kitchenmaster) longevity in this area, and have added our own names to let people know we don’t have anything to do with kitchen remodeling or appliances.”
Klooster and Begalka have nearly identical career paths. Klooster grew up in Rockford, Minnesota, and Begalka in New Ulm. They both followed nontraditional routes to being CPAs. Klooster worked with Minnegasco eight years as a customer service representative/forecast analyst and TCF Bank five years as a personal banker.
Begalka worked at various bookkeeping and office jobs before going to college. Both graduated from Minnesota State University, became CPAs, and both started working for Bob Kitchenmaster before buying in.
Said 47-year-old Klooster, “Bob has always been somewhat of a pioneer in accounting. He was one of the first CPA firms to bring financial services into the business. He also was vocal in his opposition of having licensed accountants being grandfathered in as CPAs. He also began billing a client based on the value of a meeting versus the time.”
Klooster stressed her firm wasn’t “your typical accounting firm,” and would be continuing Bob Kitchenmaster’s innovations and adding others, including leveraging technology with clients that might prefer communicating via texting or video conferencing. She said they also worked with clients interested in using the firm for preparing only a portion of a tax return or only helping with planning.
Klooster said, “Bob has been an awesome mentor. I couldn’t ask for anyone better to work with or for. He is passionate about what he does, cares for our clients, and is a great teacher. He is patient and has a great sense of humor.”
Klooster and 45-year-old Begalka both are married and both have children at Mankato West and Dakota Meadows.
Kitchenmaster, Klooster & Begalka, CPAs